Though president Obama may be creeping toward victory in a tortoise fashion, his recent decision to grant same-sex couples hospital visitation rights proves that those steps are firm, and consistently progressing toward equality for homosexuals, without the ignition of widespread cultural tumult. As it stands, some of the fiercest supporters for dramatic change are enraged with this decision, while other political activists encourage the baby-step style approach to reshaping government rules and regulations on behalf of the homosexual population of America.
The blitz began soon after the president’s election, when members of the Human Rights Campaign presented the transition team with a lengthy checklist, documenting 70 actions that the president could carry out without permission from congress. Over the next few months, activists remained in the transition’s headquarters, as not-yet appointed officials (in the departments of State,Human Services, Health, Labor and Justice) rotated for discussions; gradually, the administration began incorporating the group’s recommendations, including: State-issued embassy ID cards for same-sex partners of diplomats; stopping the discrimination in housing-assistance programs; and an HHS pledge to change their policies regarding HIV-positive visitors and immigrants. However, the hardest task came to the surface when a phone call arrived from the White House; charged for change by a heart-wrenching story, top White House officials spoke to HRC about the best legal approach for HHS to address the issue of hospital rights for married homosexuals. And, though it will take six months for the Department of Health and Human Services to implement Obama’s order, this Thursday marks a small step for Obama, and a giant leap for American homosexuals.
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